Adobe’s Mobile Usage Survey Reveals Smartphone And Tablet Users Still Type A Domain Name

Adobe logoA recently-released survey of mobile usage trends, published by Adobe, reveals about 18% of users directly navigate to a shopping website and 17% directly navigate to a media website when using a mobile device, be that a smartphone or a tablet. Moreover, the survey of 3,000 web users also revealed 37% of users browsed for consumer goods using apps and 43% accessed media apps. This means that the greater trend of users – This is after seven years of hearing, “There’s an app for that!” – is to search, browse and navigate on a website. Websites require, of course, a domain name. Considering the volume of direct navigation on mobility, this tends to support the idea that domains still have great relevance in our mobile society.

When it comes to evolving technology, particularly in the era of exponential change, it is very easy for a popular trend to quickly become irrelevant. For instance, when the .mobi gTLD was released to the general public in 2006, it was designed to become the TLD of choice for websites designed specifically for mobile devices. Consider this: only eight years ago Blackberry was still the top mobile device. The .mobi gTLD seems like a superb idea. Then Apple released the iPhone.

18% of users directly navigate to a shopping website and 17% directly navigate to a media website when using a mobile device. Between 58% and 62% prefer using a website for accessing media and shopping, respectively.

The iPhone had, of course, the .com button, which bolstered the dominance of the well-established and highly-adopted gTLD. Today, the Google Chrome mobile browser also has a .com button. The general public never became well-informed about .mobi, and the extension has pretty much faded into domain history, having barely time to gain any traction with the domain industry.

What is particularly interesting is the use of websites versus apps to browse consumer goods or access media information. The fact that 62% of users prefer to shop on a website, be it a regular site or mobile-optimized site, and 58% of users preferred accessing media in the same fashion, tells me those who are using mobile devices to browse for goods and ideas may have found many apps wanting. Even so,  38% and 42% adoption rates for consumer and media apps, respectively, is nothing to deride. Apps definitely encroach upon websites’ domains.

The Adobe survey found a slightly higher app-adoption rate when it came to financial services, particularly if a user already had a relationship with a bank. But the enhanced app use for financial services seemed to only apply to banking, not stocks or bonds. 52% of survey respondents said they prefer accessing their bank information with an app, while 60% said they wanted to review stock and mutual fund account information through a website.

Social media apps also had a high adoption rate, as would be expected with the available options, from Facebook to Twitter, Instagram to SnapChat. In fact, among the 18-29 year old category, 83% of respondents said they used the Facebook app regularly, and 77% of respondents aged 30-49 also used Facebook. Even among older users, those aged 50-64, Facebook’s app-adoption rate was still 61%, a clear majority over the mobile website.

Responsive Websites Becoming More Ubiquitous

start screen of Safari's mobile web browser

Many survey respondents say they type in a domain name. Depending on their browsing behavior, as many as 62% of mobile users prefer a website to an app.

Given the trend to build responsive websites, that is sites that automatically resize themselves based on the screen resolution, the potential for apps to supplant websites for browsing or accessing information seems unlikely, at least in the near term. That means the all-important domain name will continue to have strong relevance going forward, in my opinion. And given the number of people who still directly navigate, even on a mobile device, that domain name must still be highly-representative of the product, service or information being presented.

It also means that long-tail domains are probably not very sound acquisitions or purchases, at least not for mobile user acquisition. There is a limited amount of tolerance for tapping great amounts of data into a tablet or smart phone, as evidenced by the survey’s usage trend data.

Further, not all apps can be self-contained on a user’s device. A mobile app that requires real-time data will still have to access a server somewhere, and that latency, however brief, may be more tolerable to users when browsing a website, as it is expected. Of course, this interjection is my own highly-subjective analysis and not that of Adobe.

The complete Adobe survey and report can be downloaded from


About the Author

Danny Pryor is a media, website and content developer based in Fort Lauderdale. He produces websites, video and other digital media through his company, Rodan Media, and is the executive director of the travel website,, which he co-owns with his business partners. Danny began website development in 2000, while working with Scoop Magazine, in Fort Lauderdale. His media and broadcasting career dates to 1988, when he began working in news radio, in Las Vegas. He has two awards from the Florida Associated Press, for Best Individual Achievement and for Best Spot News, for his radio news coverage of events in Miami, during 1992.

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